Ill. GOP Hopeful Mike Bost Forms Small Business Coalition to Compete in CD-12

In Illinois, a Republican challenger recently announced the formation of a small business coalition he hopes will carry him to an upset victory in November.

Currently a representative in the General Assembly, Illinois Republican Mike Bost, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart in the 12th Congressional District, announced in a press release that he has assembled a coalition of 25 regional business leaders to assist him in formulating policy. Among the industries they represent are agriculture, insurance, and coal.

Citing the economic struggles of Illinois, Bost said:

“I believe that our small business coalition is among some of the best and brightest minds in the region. These individuals will help us create a smarter business policy to move Illinois forward. . . . These business people obviously have what it take to stay in business because they have been able to keep their businesses going in these tough economic times.”

While also traveling throughout the district, Bost recently posited that there is too much regulation coming from Washington. In Union County last week, he said:

“I believe that DC should have less power, the states should have a little more power, but your local government should have the most power.”

Among the regulations he felt were “stuffed down the states’ throats,” included the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

Bost, who is known for verbal outbursts that have become internet sensations, is also hoping that talking will help enable him to overcome his opponent. A few weeks ago, Bost challenged Enyart to as many as twelve debates, one for each county in the district. Enyart has thus far replied vaguely to forums, although in 2012 he was adamant about debating his Republican opponent.

The road to a Bost victory is still tough. A former U.S. Marine whose family has long run a trucking company, Bost may need to tap into business contacts to mount a competitive campaign against an incumbent with a couple of key advantages.

According to the latest projections from OpenSecrets.org, Enyart has raised nearly $1 million compared to Bost’s $353,000. However, Enyart has also spent a much larger percentage than Bost. Regarding cash on hand, Bost is closer to his opponent, having raised $200,000 compared to Enyart’s $555,000.

In addition to money, Bost also has to campaign to publicize his name.

Two main metropolitan areas, the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin region and the Metro East, largely comprise the district. Bost, who originates from just outside Carbondale, has to compensate for the vote disparity he is likely to face from Enyart’s political and home base in the traditionally Democratic Metro East.

Despite the hurdles, Mike Bost and his coalition of small business leaders appear to be making moves intended to make District 12 competitive in 2014.